Archive for Endurance

Jesus’ thing, not yours or mine

“So you are still doing your kindness thing, huh? Good for you. God bless you, brother.”

Here’s a translation of what he asked: “You still doing your kindness thing?” This is also code for: “You’re still doing that kindness thing? It’s not what I’m about, but you just keep at it.” My wife Janie says it a little differently – “We tried the kindness and love thing, but we’ve moved on to this or that…”

Both of his statements are light years from the heart of Servant Evangelism. This is Jesus’ thing, not yours or mine. If it were Steve’s version of kindness it wouldn’t be all that kind!

Second, the “Kindness thing” is the core of the message of the Kingdom Jesus started.

It’s obvious to many, though not all, that the kindness of God and his are love at the center of the life of someone filled with the Spirit of God.

Jesus launched the Kingdom of God upon this world. All we do needs to be understood through the lens of Jesus life and words. He has always been about transforming the life of every person his Spirit touches.

Let’s focus on his kindness – the kindness of God that brings a radical life change” (Rom. 2:4, MSG) to all it touches.

Veni, Vidi, Velcro (I came, I saw, I stuck around)

The Roman army was at its peak in Jesus’ generation. During this timeframe they were able to rule enormous parts of the world. Roman soldiers are along the lines of Marines, but all are lifers.

One way generals kept the morale and focus on the same page was to develop little sayings that summarized what they were all about. “veni, vidi, vici” is one they often used. It should read, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” The second version is just as important. Part of success is often just staying put in a geography. A verse from the Old Testament I particularly like is a reference to “The land of your anointing.”

The results of being in that land are generally marked by:
– personal fulfillment
– the favor of God is clearly upon you
– strong love for your community

Looking back at what happened with the Vineyard church Janie and I started, it is clear there was a revival happening. Are you in the land of your anointing? Maybe that land is the unique in life focus God has given you, whether gifts that are clearly ministry or mostly in the business world.

Resist the temptation to bail on something that doesn’t seem to be “Blessed” right now. Wisdom is that you move on once you can see there is literally no way to move forward toward you based on what you know to be true. If you work at McDonald’s and have the aspiration to become the manager of that location, but your regional person tells you there is no way that will ever happen—in that setting it’s wisdom to bail. You are probably wasting time that you could be investing in something else.

Find the anointed part God has in front of you.
Commit to that place or ministry.
God will do the work as we faithfully continue to show up.

Why are these actors no longer cast in movies?

Have you been on the hunt for info online and then, found it or not, a popup article catches your eye? The one I stumbled across claimed to know why certain actors aren’t in the acting business any longer.

They listed a dozen or so players—most of whom I’ve seen in years gone by, but seem to be out of sight now. Maybe they were right—something happened to put a dent in their careers.

Most of them did something stupid that wasn’t connected with an acting part—“extracurricular” activities got to them. After they had done it, sadly they tried to give feeble excuses for their actions. None of those listed were willing to be transparent and own their stuff.

There’s a lesson there for us as leaders. Just by being a leader of any sort, a leader of any sized influence, you will never be out of the limelight again. Read the last part of that sentence again—“You will never be out of the limelight again.”

Another way to put it is, “You will never get away with anything again.” The technology of our age will see to it that that will never happen.

Unavoidable truth, yet take it to heart. When it comes time to step into something dumb, think twice—then think twice again. Then do it a third time. That’s a lot of thinking twice, but in most cases, that’s a word of wisdom.

Are You Greedy For Life?

As I write this, baseball’s World Series is happening between two teams that have not been a part of the “Big Show” in many years. Tonight, either the Chicago Cubs or the Cleveland Indians will win and be named the best team in baseball for the 2016 season.

The Today Show featured a woman named “Nana” as her family calls her. Nana turned is 104 this year. She said who would have thought this is how her life would turn out.

Quit quitting.

As usually happens when people live in old age, “What has been the secret to your long life?” She smiled and said it’s about love, friends, and family. Her granddaughter said she’d thought it through and had an answer too.

“At age 90 Nana thought she was about done with life. She had lived many wonderful years, but her husband of many decades was gone. Most of her friends and many of the relatives she was close to had passed away. But then something happened that steered in a new direction. Nana looked at her life and extended family and all the events she wanted to be a part of before she passed away. There were graduations. There were marriages and births and careers all her offspring we still going to experience. In other words, she was going to live long enough to be part of some crucial goals to which she felt called.

To boot, she decided to live long enough to see the Indians go to the World Series and hopefully win.”

Be an “Adjust-er” and God will work through you.

I have read dozens—no exaggeration— books about the vital importance of setting goals. During college, I put together up a dozen goals that thrilled me. Each was a biggie. I didn’t realize it at the time, but only God they were only going to hit the target if God breathed on them.

Churches, relationships, careers are all fine and dandy areas where we can set very specific, measurable goals. But that’s only part of the picture in setting goals. Nana has hit the head of the nail with her new life goals—especially those that include relationships.

Relax.

Where are you with your goals these days? No matter where you are, even if you a sprite 103 compared to Nana, it’s probably time to think them through. Take to heart this truth—God has a lot more for you to experience. It’s not all about accomplishing this or that. It’s more than anything being you. It’s about you bringing the love and presence of God to shape many others—to draw them into a greater love for Jesus.

You and I will carry out the great plan of God as we commit to what he has in mind. Usually, that has more to do with us lightening more on ourselves and trying less.